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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against NY's Stay on Evictions


     In a much awaited decision, the Supreme Court has ruled against part of New York State's blanket eviction moratorium. To every landlord's chagrin, at the outset of the pandemic, New York State passed the COVID Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act (CEEFPA), which established protections for renters during the COVID pandemic. In particular, renters have been able to evade eviction simply by filing a hardship declaration with the court, attesting that they had suffered financial issues as a result of the pandemic or that relocating would negatively impact their health. Unfortunately, many renters have taken advantage of this sweeping and blanket moratorium - thousands of tenants who did not lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic evaded eviction by filing a (falsified) hardship declaration. Finally, the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision, voted against part of the eviction moratorium, which is set to expire on August 31, 2021. However, there remain safeguards in place protecting renters who can actually prove to the court that they have suffered as a result of the pandemic. The moratorium is expected to be extended as the first action of the new governor when she takes office later this month.  

     It goes without saying that this decision is a major victory for New York landlords and their constitutional rights. As Attorney Randy Mastro of Gibson Dunn, who represented landlords in the Supreme Court matter, poignantly noted, "on behalf of New York's small landlords, we are extremely grateful to the Supreme Court for reaffirming that, even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten...we sought emergency relief because New York's continuing moratorium violated owners' constitutional rights and left small landlords struggling to survive, with no opportunity even to be heard in court, a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution."

     Also of note is the recent CDC order extending the nationwide eviction moratoriums into October, which is also being challenged in the Supreme Court. Many believe that the CDC lacks the authority to do so and, as Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh warned, the CDC has "exceeded its existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium" and that it cannot be renewed absent "clear and specific congressional authorization." If the Supreme Court's recent decision on the New York eviction moratorium has set a new trend, the CDC order may be the next on the chopping board. 

     We at the Litt Law Group are keeping close attention to the daily changing laws, rules and court decisions that affect everyone. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.